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Stop Blaming Black Parents for School Achievement Gaps

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Helping your kids, or neighbors’ kids, do their homework almost certainly will not improve their school performance, according to a new study. “The idea that parental involvement will address one of the most salient and intractable issues in education, racial and ethnic achievement gaps, is not supported by the evidence.” However, a demonstrable commitment to social values can change a child’s whole outlook on life.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – 3/24/13

Chicago Teachers Prepare Electoral Challenge to Mayor Emanuel

Massive school closings have made Chicago “ground zero” in the battle to preserve public education, said Michael Brunson, of the Chicago Teachers Union. Fifty-four schools have been targeted for closure, this year, most of them in Black and brown neighborhoods. “People don’t want to move into a community if they don’t have a school they can send their children to,” said Brunson. “It’s part of a downward spiral that disinvests from our communities and causes them to crumble.” The teachers union plans to register 100,000 new voters to challenge mayoral control of the schools.

NYC Parents Boycott High Stakes Testing

With their parents’ permission, students at 33 New York City schools will opt out of scheduled standardized tests. “We feel that there is too much riding on these exams that have so much to do with the dismantling of the public school system,” said Cynthia Copeland, a parent and member of Time Out From Testing. “It’s this constant teaching to the test; there’s no real learning going on.”

Newark Protests Against Social Security Cuts

The People’s Organization for Progress held demonstrations, in Newark, New Jersey, to protest President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs. Chairman Larry Hamm noted that POP endorsed Obama “in both elections after much discussion and debate.” But, “now we turn around and have to fight the very guy we voted for.” Obama, said Hamm, is “the first Democratic president to actually propose cuts to Social Security.”

Obama is “Face of Capitalist Empire”

From the start, Obama has been leading the charge to betray Social Security and the foundation of the Democratic Party’s policy platform, which is the New Deal,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina writer and activist. “Obama is the face of the capitalist empire; that’s what he believes in,” said Gray. “What troubles me about Black Obama supporters is, they just seem to ignore it. It’s all about misguided racial pride.”

EEOC Dismisses Black Complaints, Blames Sequestration

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that sequestration-mandated spending cuts will add to the agency’s backlog of employment discrimination cases. But Ricardo Jones, the former chief investigator for the EEOC’s southern New York region, says the Commission is already dismissing the vast majority of Black complaints, and “hasn’t paid overtime to any investigator or mediator at the EEOC for the past 15 years. According to Jones, the Commission “only finds reasonable cause 3.1% of the time. That’s worse than the Bush administration.”

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School Privatization Fraud: Michelle Rhee May Yet Join Beverly Hall in the Dock

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Michelle Rhee may yet pay for her the damage she has inflicted on society and its children.” The former DC schools superintendent and privatization poster girl has been exposed to charges of fraud, along with her sister in crime, former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall. The real criminal enterprise is codified in No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, headed up by the Bush and Obama gangs.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/8/13

High Stakes Testing Makes Cheating Inevitable

Over the last four years, standardized test cheating cases have been confirmed “in 37 states and the District of Columbia, and patterns of systemic cheating in about a dozen jurisdictions,” said Bob Schaeffer, of Fair Test. “The only solution is a comprehensive overhaul of No Child Left Behind and the over-testing system that has been mandated.” Schaeffer said evaluation of student progress should be “based on the work students do in the classroom over time.”

Mumia on the Real Dr. King

Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison, sent a message to a gathering at New York’s historic Riverside Church on the anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. “ MLK, who broke with President Lyndon Johnson in a speech at Riverside on April 4, 1967, “was an adversary of the military industrial complex and the mammoth business interests that support it. This is why state power marked him, quashed his voice, and gave him up to a violent death,” said Abu Jamal.

Free the Cuban Five

The U.S. government categorically denies it has political prisoners in its gulags,” said Luis Rosa, a Puerto Rican activist from Chicago who spent 19 years in prison on political charges. Rosa spoke at a Columbia University event demanding freedom for the Cuban Five and all U.S. political prisoners. The U.S. “uses denial to violate our most basic human rights,” said Rosa, “to perpetuate the lie that it is the ultimate defender of freedom, justice, democracy and human rights in the world.” Imani Brown, of Columbia’s Caribbean Students Association, said “American neocolonial systems of power…is the driving force of the prison industrial complex.”

Petition to Take Back Obama’s Peace Prize

Norman Solomon, the former anti-war congressional candidate and co-founder of RootsAction.org, says the state of peace in the world “has gone from bad to worse” in the 40 months since President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. RootsAction.org is circulating a petition, asking the Nobel committee to take back the prize, which was awarded early in Obama’s first term. As one petitioner wrote: “A pre-emptive peace prize works about as well as pre-emptive war.”

See No Evil, Hear No Evil” at EPA

When you consider the level of assaults that the planet is under, if ever in our history we needed a strong voice at the agency for communities and people, it’s now,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, noted whistleblower and a leader in the No Fear Coalition. She said Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s new choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is just another representative of the “envirotocracy – green paint on top of a corporate structure” – very much like former EPA chief Lisa Jackson and other predecessors who “hear no evil, see no evil.”

Where Did Haiti Aid Money Go?

A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, calls for more transparency and accountability in U.S. AID’s dispensing of monies to Haiti. “The Haitian people know how much money was pledged, and they know how little they’ve seen,” said the CEPR’s Jake Johnston. “There’s becoming a whole lot of resentment.”

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Why Was Atlanta's Beverly Hall Indicted For Racketeering While Michelle Rhee Won't Be?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Atlanta's black former school superintendent and 34 other black teachers and administrators have been indicted for “racketeering” in a cheating scandal. Why aren't others like former DC Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and her team indicted? Should we be rallying the racial wagons around Dr. Hall and the other 34? No way.

Seattle Teachers Boycott of Unfair & Unnecessary High Stakes Tests Spreads to Second High School

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Teachers in Seattle are standing up to the high stakes testing regime and refusing to administer an unnecessary test. Students and parents have lined up to support them, and the boycott has already spread to a second Seattle high school. President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union said teachers shouldn't have to “teach to the test”. Will be commend the efforts of Seattle teachers? Don't hold your breath.

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Occupy Education vs Gates Foundation: Policy Throwdown!

 

by Jesse Hagopian

The direct ancestors of today’s high stakes tests were “designed by racist pseudoscientists of the early 20th century” to “prove that whites born in the U.S. were the most intelligent of all peoples.” Today’s tests, championed by corporations and the Obama administration, are designed to “prove that some students – Black students, students of color generally and working-class kids – belong at the bottom.” Occupy movement teachers challenged the billionaires' minions to a debate.

LAUSD’s Apartheid Hall of Shame, Part 2: A View from the Classroom

by Sikivu Hutchinson

The Black student “push-out” phenomenon is directly related to Black mass incarceration. Studies show that “African Americans go to the dean’s office for less serious offenses than do Latinos and whites.” Disruptive behavior is in the subjective perception of the beholding teachers, some of whom “go off about ‘these black kids’ and what are you going to do with these black kids ‘cause I can’t teach in my classroom with these black kids going out of control.” Predominantly Black schools and faculty are often no better. “South L.A. schools with significant or majority black faculty and administrators are just as culpable.”

Los Angeles Schools’ Apartheid Hall of Shame (Part One)

by Sikivu Hutchinson

It sounds like racial profiling in education, on a massive, institutional scale. “Black students are targeted, penalized and pushed-out in dizzyingly obscene numbers that predict and mirror their disproportionate numbers in L.A. County juvenile detention centers and adult prisons.” Those are the conclusions of a recent report on schools in the Los Angele Unified District, where Black kids are grossly overrepresented among students ejected from classrooms. What’s more, such collective punishment occurs “regardless of the racial background of the faculty and administration or racial demographics and socioeconomic background of a given school.”

New Study Shows Racial Bias in SATs

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Words hold meaning, but sometimes they mean different things in different cultures. A new study shows the difference in the understood meanings of commonly used words is big enough to adversely affect the SAT scores of Black students. It turns out that Blacks do better than whites on the hard questions involving big words – but not enough to even the odds.

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